Jennifer Tour Chayes

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Jennifer Tour Chayes
Born (1956-09-20) September 20, 1956 (age 59)[1]
New York City[1]
Residence Boston[1]
Fields Physics
Theoretical computer science
Institutions Microsoft Research New England
Microsoft Research New York City
Cornell University
Harvard University
Alma mater Wesleyan University
Princeton University
Thesis The Inverse Problem, Plaquette Percolation and a Generalized Potts Model (1983)
Doctoral advisor Elliott H. Lieb
Michael Aizenman
Known for phase transitions
discrete mathematics
graph theory
game theory

Jennifer Tour Chayes (born September 20, 1956) is Managing Director and Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she founded in 2012. Chayes has been with Microsoft Research since 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group.[2] She received her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton University. She is Affiliate Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Washington, and was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA.

Education and work[edit]

Chayes was born in New York City[1] and grew up in White Plains, N.Y., the child of Iranian immigrants. She received her B.A. in Biology and Physics from Wesleyan University in 1979 where she graduated first in her class. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics at Princeton University. She did her postdoctoral work in the Mathematics and Physics departments at Harvard and Cornell. She moved to UCLA as a tenured Professor of Mathematics in 1987.

Chayes was married to Christian Borgs in 1993, and to Lincoln Chayes previously. She has had extremely successful collaborations with both her husbands; of her 94 papers in MathSciNet (as of February 2014), 51 are coauthored with Christian Borgs and 37 are coauthored with Lincoln Chayes. Chayes and Borgs started the Theory Group at Microsoft Research Redmond in 1997. The Theory Group analyzes fundamental questions in theoretical computer science using techniques from statistical physics and discrete mathematics. Chayes is currently Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England which she co-founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012. Chayes is best known for her work on phase transitions, and on models and properties of networks. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is considered one of the world's experts in the modeling and analysis of dynamically growing graphs. Applications include the Internet, the Web, biological networks, and social networks. She has contributed the development of methods to analyze the structure and behavior of various networks, the design of auction algorithms, and the design and analysis of various business models for the online world. She is the co-author of almost 120 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 25 patents.


Chayes and Borgs opened Microsoft Research New England in July 2008. The lab is located at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center and is pursuing new, interdisciplinary areas of research that bring together core computer scientists and social scientists to understand, model, and enable future computing and online experiences.[2] On May 3, 2012, the New York Times reported that, "Microsoft is opening a research lab in New York City…" which Chayes will co-manage.[3][4] The new lab also brings together computer scientists and social scientists, particularly in the areas of economics, computational and behavioral social sciences, and machine learning.

Chayes serves on numerous institute boards, advisory committees and editorial boards, including the Turing Award Selection Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics, the Advisory Boards of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus, and Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology. Chayes is a past Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award.[5][6][7][8]

Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Fields Institute, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Mathematical Society, as well as a National Associate of the National Academies. She has been the recipient of many leadership awards, including one of the 2012 Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Awards.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Recipient, Sloan Fellowship
  • Recipient, UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Member (twice), Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • National Associate, National Academies
  • Fellow, Association for Computing Machinery (2010)[9]
  • Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, 2012[10]
  • Leadership Award of Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology
  • Leading Women Award of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
  • Women to Watch Award of the Boston Business Journal
  • Women of Leadership Vision Award of the Anita Borg Institute


  1. ^ a b c d "Jennifer Tour Chayes CURRICULUM VITAE" (PDF). Microsoft Research. April 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b 2012 Women to Watch: Jennifer Chayes, Massachusetts High Tech. By Scott Pickering. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. ^ Microsoft Taps Yahoo Scientists for New York Research Lab, NYT. By Steve Lohr. Fifth, tenth and eleventh paragraphs. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  4. ^ Microsoft Opens New York Research Lab, Hires Mainly Yahoo Researchers, CSO. By John Ribeiro. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  5. ^ Chayes, Jennifer; B. Bollobas, C. Borgs, J.H. Kim, D.B. Wilson (2001), The scaling window of the 2-SAT transition 18, Random Structures and Algorithms, pp. 201–256  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  6. ^ Chayes, Jennifer; N. Berger, C. Borgs, R. D'Souza and R. D. Kleinberg (2007), Emergence of tempered preferential attachment from optimization 104, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), pp. 6112–6117  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  7. ^ Chayes, Jennifer; R. Andersen, C. Borgs, U.Feige, A. Flaxman, A. Kalai, V. Mirrokni and M. Tennenholtz (2008), Trust-based recommendation systems: An axiomatic approach, Proceedings of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web (WWW)  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  8. ^ Chayes, Jennifer; M. Biskup, C. Borgs, L. Kleinwaks and R. Kotecky (2004), Partition function zeros at first-order phase transitions: A general analysis 251, Communications in Mathematical Physics, pp. 79–131  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  9. ^ ACM Names 41 Fellows from World's Leading Institutions: Many Innovations Made in Areas Critical to Global Competitiveness, ACM, December 7, 2010, retrieved 2011-11-20.
  10. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.

External links[edit]